Friday, December 12, 2003

Krugman Just Does Not Get It

Bad, BAD George W. Bush! Those Bush hardliners are creating A Deliberate Debacle.

Poor France and Germany. They spent the last 20 plus years cozying up to a murderous, fascist dictator. They made tons of money in the process. They sold him arms. They enabled Saddam Hussein to murder tens of thousands of Iraqis. Then they were, to put it politely, obstructive to our effort to liberate Iraq.

But why... WHY won't we let them in on the reconstruction deals??? We're all friends... right? They're our allies... yes?

Maybe I'm giving Paul Wolfowitz too much credit, but I don't think this was mere incompetence. I think the administration's hard-liners are deliberately sabotaging reconciliation.

Ya think Paul? Man, you ARE bright!

This is no policy mix up. This is no embarrassment for Bush43. This is Jacksonian, US international relations at it's best. For those of you who, like Krugman, who seem to need a remedial lesson in how this works, please re-read "The Little Red Hen". (Thanks LGF!)

Name one... just ONE substantive reconciliation effort by the French, Germans or Russians... I'm waiting... Come on now... you can surely think of one... Nothing? I thought not.

The other part of this I love is the idea that we're "asking" France, Germany and Russia to forgive Iraqi debt. Note to the New York Times... I don't think that we're asking...

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Dialogue with Terrorists

Jeff at Tusk and Talon comically illustrates the folly of dialogue with terrorists.

Dialogue Advocate: "Thank you for meeting with me. We understand that you have a series of legitimate claims and that your feelings are no more, or less, legitimate as our own. I hope to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for your position. And I hope that you feel the same. Can we agree on that."

Terrorism Advocate: "I would like for you to be dead....and your children....and your wife will be stoned to death."

Dude, those terrorists sure are harsh. What the hell did we do to piss them off? Well, excuse us for living!
Register Editorial Board Back Free Speech!

Unbelievable!!! The Register’s lead editorial laments the Supreme Count’s heinous decision to shackle political speech through campaign finance reform. And… you’re not going to believe this… they quote and gush over… Antonin Scalia

In upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law, the United States Supreme Court delivered a collection of opinions Wednesday that together are thicker than most Iowa telephone directories. Out of all that legal verbiage in three separate rulings and four dissents, the single best line came from Justice Antonin Scalia:

"This is a sad day for the freedom of speech."

Amen, brother Scalia.

Without getting lost in the legal distinctions between money and speech, the inescapable truth is that the ability of an individual or group of individuals to spend their money as they please on the political candidate or cause of their choosing is as fundamental an expression as there is, and it surely is at the heart of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Wow… I’m speechless (pun intended).

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Rekha's Liberal Circle Jerk

In today's column, Ms. Basu thinks that she's found something to help her regain her confidence in American Democracy. She's been despondent of late because of the way the will of the people has been ignored and political dissent has been crushed.

No, she hasn't gotten a job with NPR.

No, she didn't make long, sensious eye contact with Howard Dean at a Democratic presidential candidates’ debate.

No, it wasn't because of the hideous assult made on the 1st Amendment made today by the Supreme Court.

No, she go to attend the Liberal Cost-to-Cost Bash-Bush Tupperware Party.

Just when some of us were despairing that war, terrorism and politicians are cutting democracy out of core American institutions, it found a way to reinvent itself.

An independent filmmaker had made a controversial movie questioning the intelligence behind the Iraq war. He interviewed lots of credible sources, including long-time intelligence experts and former CIA officials. They didn't just poke large holes in the White House claims used to justify the war. They also offered evidence that, even while promoting the idea that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and links to Osama bin Laden, officials knew that was implausible.

Goodie, Rekha found a group of displaced Democrats, socialists, Wiccans and street performers and was able to watch a movie that was would be "banned" from TV. It was all about... wait for it... how the Bush "Junta" tricked us (us being the Congress of the United States... but they're not really a democratic institution... well they are, but they're not a Democratic institution) into the war in Iraq.

What started out with a simple premise snowballed into a giant act of grass-roots participation that proved people needn't rely on the mainstream media or the good graces of government to get answers or to have a voice. All it took was the Internet, a speaker phone and a DVD player.

Hey that sounds familiar. Kind of reminds me of what's going on all throughout the Blogosphere. Everyone can have a voice and articulate their thoughts. There's a self editing, peer accountable by immediate correction alternative to mainstream media. And excuse me, but whenever I hear the words "grass-roots participation", it makes me nervous. I keep thinking that Joan Baez is going to jump into the room and start singing "Joe Hill".

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald doesn't necessarily break new ground in "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War."

No... he just repeats the same lies, false memes and half-baked conspiracies that keep these folks stewing in their own juices.

The happening... hootenanny... love-in... whachamacallit was funded by our friends at I mean The goal is to get like-minded people together to eat generic corn chips (not purchased at Wal-Mart), watch some anti-American propaganda and not "feel all alone". "Oh God, it's just me alone in my apartment again... with my 12 cats and my old Woodstock poster. Christ, anything's better than this."

America has been a lonely place for anyone with the gall to question the war on Iraq. Critics have been called unpatriotic, ungrateful, un-American, even pro-terrorist. But their numbers have continued to grow as loved ones are killed or damaged, as the cost rises and a still undefined mission stretches endlessly.

Well... that implies that the vast majority of Americans support the war. Maybe you're on to something Rekha. I don't think it's unpatriotic or any other of the pejoratives that you mention to object to the war or any other aspect of US policy. However, I've heard precious few intelligent objections to the war from anyone on the left. Sure, I've been offered a lot of very old, discredited "world socialist utopian" wine served up in new bottles. Most of it is Idiotarian drivel.

Okay Rekha… “…killed or damaged...”? The word is wounded Rekha... wounded.

Undefined mission? Bullhockey. The mission so far has been to:

a. Show Islamo-terrorists, the states that support them and anyone else that would attack us that we mean business
b. Free the Iraqi people from 30 years of brutal dictatorship
c. Break free from the decrepit, discredited diplomatic policy of supporting status quo in the kleptocracies of the Middle East

So far, so good. The goals are to:

a. Create an environment where the Iraqis can create a liberal, constitutional republic for themselves and their heirs
b. Leave as soon as practicable -- 5 years or 40... it does not matter. We need to stay as long as it takes. Hell, we've been in Germany for almost 60 years.

Meanwhile, even as America talks of exporting democracy abroad, we've watched democracy take a beating at home.

Oh really Rekha? How? Because the policies that YOU would like to see implemented are not gaining favor? It’s funny how when liberals are not getting their way, they immediately cry foul and claim that they’re taking a beating. I’m reminded of that scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where the peasant screams to King Arthur: “Now you can see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I’m being repressed!!!”

You've got government spying on citizens under the Patriot Act.

Oh yeah Rekha. Don’t talk too loudly, there’s a bug in armoire. I think there may have even been a listening device in the spinach dip at your protest party.
You've got media being consolidated into fewer hands, narrowing the number of views aired and news sources on which to base opinions.

What you mean is that citizens now have access to media that is not completely, mind-pummelingly liberal and you and your friends don’t like it. Losing your liberal media monopoly is a bitch, ain’t it?
In Des Moines, a city council facing financial woes is trying to bypass an election to save money.


You know, if I did not know that Rekha Basu was a sophisticated, big city journalist, I’d think that sometimes she just writes the first thing that comes into her head. Hmmm, let’s see… democracy taking a beating at home… Patriot Act… check. Fox News Network… check. Des Moines at large city councilman election to replace Cownie deferred… check. Whoa… run that past me again Rekha.

More and more, we're learning democracy isn't - can't be - what they give you. It's what you take. And how you use it.

Well… we’ve come a long way from “Ask not what your country can do for you…”, haven’t we. You know Rekha, if you and friends did not expect the government to give you all kinds of stuff. If you could conceive of going out and working for what you need and want, expecting nothing from government except some infrastructure, police, national defense and to left alone… maybe you wouldn't need...

Nevermind… I’m just wasting my breath.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Michael Crichton - Debunking Enviro-Fundamentalism

Awesome speech given by Crichton to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (of all places...). He takes on all of the icons: The Noble Savage... The Garden of Eden... even DDT. Here's a tasty tidbit:

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.

Amazing really, given the series of list of "technology gone mad" books the man has written. Go read it. It is truly impressive.

Hat tip: The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid
Go Wolfie!

Paul Wolfowitz bitch slaps the Axis of Weasels.

The Pentagon has barred French, German and Russian companies from competing for $18.6 billion in contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, saying it was acting to protect "the essential security interests of the United States."

The directive, issued Friday by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, represents the most substantive retaliation to date by the Bush administration against American allies who opposed its decision to go to war in Iraq.

The administration had warned before the war that countries that did not join in an American-led coalition would not have a voice in decisions about the rebuilding of Iraq.

And once again the Bush Administration does what it says it will do on the international front. Although not enemies, the French, Germans and Russians are our international adversaries. Do not doubt that for a second. Well weasels, you can choose to do what ever you want. You CANNOT, however, choose the consequences.

Update: Jeff at Tusk and Talon has some insights and a humorous, spot on anology to help hold this situation up to the light.
Richard Gere - Useful Idiot for Islamists

Who does he think he is? Jesse Jackson? Jimmy Carter? Sean Penn?

Peacemakers Circle is planning a series of concerts next year to improve the atmosphere after three years of Palestinian-Israeli violence. ``Its purpose is to use the creative energy of the arts to transform consciousness in the Middle East region,'' the group explained on its Internet Web site.

Feel safe world. Richard is on the case bringing good karma and moral equivalency to the Middle East. Of course, being the practicing Buddhist that he is, if the Palestinians get their Islamic state, he would not be able to visit there. He'd get stoned... and not in a good way.
Feelings... Nothing More than Feelings

James Harrigan takes on the PC Feelings Police at TCS. Go check out I Feel Therefore I Am.

Such burning questions. Are feelings trumping reason in the marketplace of ideas? Should one hard disk on an IDE circuit be labeled a "slave" and another a "master"??? How do the hard disks feel about this? And, what about that pesky word "niggardly"? Hey... can I get in trouble for writing that word on my blog?

The most recent example of this began innocently enough in May 2003, when a black employee in Los Angeles county's Probation Department filed a discrimination complaint with the Office of Affirmative Action Compliance in response to labels on a videotape machine marked "master" and "slave." How these labels warranted a charge of discrimination is not entirely clear, but in this, the Era of Bad Feelings, definitions rarely get in the way when a complaint is lodged. Joe Sandoval, a division manager in the Internal Services Department, didn't miss a beat.

In a memo dated Nov 18, 2003, with "Los Angeles County" in the "from" field, Sandoval wrote that "The County of Los Angeles actively promotes and is committed to ensure a work environment that is free from any discriminatory influence be it actual or perceived."

Actual or perceived?

Yes, "actual or perceived..." No one should be offended... ever. And, don't think that folks haven't picked up on this... especially when there's free money to be had. When people are motivated by popular culture (and cash) to find offense well, like pigs to truffles.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Socialism... Morphed from Radical Christianity...?

Samizdata's Andy Duncan has an essay on Socialism that ties the political to the religious. This is a separation of church and state that the left surely won't support.

Much of socialism draws its strength from Christianity. Indeed, you could argue that socialism is simply late radical Christianity by another name. Instead of worshipping God, its followers worship the State. Instead of donating a tithe of their income to the Church, they donate a tithe of their income to the Socialist Worker 'newspaper' collective. Instead of blindly following the teachings of Jesus, they blindly follow the teachings of Marx, another heretical Jew with a beard.

Something that I've pondered for a long time. Go read it.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Prohibition in England?

Okay Brits, they've already come for your handguns. Now it's time to hand the government your cigarettes. Yes, believe it or not, there is talk in the UK about banning tobacco altogether. An editorial in The Lancet calls for the prohibition of tobacco products.

Cigarette smoking is a dangerous addiction. We should be doing a great deal more to prevent this disease and to help its victims. We call on Tony Blair's government to ban tobacco.

Yes... we're all victims with a disease who must be helped by those wiser (and certainly stronger with police powers behind them) that us.

"Can I have some candy mummy?"

"No my darling little boy... have some unsweetened, unsalted rolled oats. They're good for you. You'll live (a life of boredom) to a ripe old age (and wished that you'd died at 40). Now… shut up and eat your oatmeal."

I pray that this comes to a head in Great Britain so that we can observe the folly from a safe distance.